As a sales rep, you have to reconcile the fact that you’re trying to make as much money as possible with the fact that you can only make a finite amount of sales in a given quarter. The sky isn’t the limit — but however far the best of your abilities can take you is.

But in some cases, the money your company allows you to make stops short of your full potential. Some businesses impose a cap on commission — a strict limit on what you’re allowed to earn. Generally, that’s not the way to go. 

Here, we’ll learn about the benefits of uncapped commission, some insight into why some companies might not be interested in it, and the pitfalls of including the term in job listings.

A cap on commission might mean a cap on effort. That’s why uncapped commission can be a powerful incentive for sales reps to exceed expectations. If a sales rep’s commission is capped at $50,000 for $500,000 worth of sales in a quarter, what incentive do they have to try to go beyond that?

Many salespeople won’t be receptive to a pat on the back, and a trophy that doesn’t come with some sort of tangible incentive might not be enough to set your highest performing reps on the right track. A financial reward is often the most powerful motivator for reps — leaving commission uncapped can provide just that.

In many cases, uncapped commission is a given. Several — if not most — companies don’t put a lid on how much an exceptional rep can earn for going above and beyond. Businesses should want the most out of their reps, and you won’t get that by imposing hardline restrictions on compensation.

Why would a company want to cap commission?

It wants to avoid overpaying its reps.

That’s probably the bluntest, most obvious answer to that question. Companies often want to look out for what they believe to be their most immediate financial interests. In many cases, they want to be able to present definitive budgets and save money. But that strategy often backfires.

A sales rep who closes a massive deal only to find out they’re going to receive a fraction of the commission it warrants is going to be disappointed. They will be less interested in giving the necessary effort to bring in as much business as they can.

That loss of initiative often means less revenue from and lowered morale within a sales org, so it’s fair to say that capping commission is often counterintuitive and unproductive.

Why You Should Avoid “Uncapped Commission” in Job Descriptions

Job seekers should be wary of any job description that touts uncapped commission as a major selling point. In a lot of cases, that could very well be a big-time red flag. Uncapped commission is often an implied benefit for most sales positions — it’s almost always a given.

Advertising uncapped commission is like bragging about providing salespeople with a company computer and an office with Wifi access. Sure, it’s important to have, and a sales role would be tougher without it, but it doesn’t look particularly impressive to prospective candidates.

For businesses in the hiring process, putting “uncapped commission” on your job listing can make you look cheap and spammy. It might lead candidates to believe they’ll be underpaid — that you’re unwilling to state what a sales rep at your company can actually expect to earn.

Instead, your job descriptions should be straightforward and honest. Detail factors like the types of insurance your company can provide, the amount of PTO candidates can expect to see, other financial incentives like tuition reimbursements and commuter benefits, and any other meaningful incentives that you feel your potential hires should know about.

As far as mentioning compensation, be frank with candidates. Give them a picture of the pay structure you intend to offer them, like “base plus commission.” And consider giving them a picture of their on-target earnings — the average amount of money they can expect to earn from their base salary coupled with a realistic figure of their potential commission.

Capping commission can mean putting a lid on sales reps’ effort. In most cases, salespeople will be less inclined to pursue that extra deal or push themselves that much further if they know they won’t be appropriately paid for it. If you’re a sales leader interested in getting the most out of your reps, it’s in your best interest to leave commission uncapped.

Uncapped commission generally means uncapped effort. If you want that kind of commitment out of your team, don’t restrict that element of their compensation.

Original Source: blog.hubspot.com

In a world where technology is increasingly taking over mundane human tasks like capping toothpaste tubes, completing sentences, managing inventory and even driving, automation has played a huge role in the workplace economy by helping cut down human input on repetitive tasks.

It is estimated that office productivity loss due to employee time spent on administrative tasks (that can be easily automated) costs nearly $5 trillion annually, and roughly 69 workdays are spent doing such tasks. For gig economy workers and independent professionals who earn money based on the time they spend producing results-oriented work, this loss in productivity translates directly into decreased incomes.

This and many other reasons compelled Gaurav Tripathi, a graduate of IIT-Bombay, to set up Superpro.ai – a platform that helps independent professionals save time and earn more money by using artificial intelligence and automation to help perform time-consuming, yet simple tasks such as scheduling consultations, collecting payments, sending email reminders for follow-ups, generating invoices and sorting and collecting data, among others.

Gaurav says Superpro’s value proposition is that it substantially helps independent professionals increase their billable hours. It also gives them access to analytical tools that provide insights on how professionals can maximise their productivity, improve their performance and grow their business faster – stuff that was previously only available to big corporates.

“We combine nearly eight to nine tools that professionals would have required to offer their services, into one, and save them a lot of precious time which they can spend on billable tasks,” says Gaurav, in an interview with YourStory.

The platform, in addition to backend automation and analytics, allows professionals to create their own professional page that highlights their expertise and services – starting with a video message that it asks its users to shoot and upload. It gives businesses wanting to get in touch with professionals listed on Superpro several contact points within the platform, without ever revealing their personal information such as emails or phone numbers.

Most of the ‘solopreneurs’ on the platform use it to offer video-based services such as consultations, webinars, coaching, live courses, and training, among others.

Superpro

An screengrab of Superpro.ai's platform

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COVID-19 accelerating the ‘future of work’

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the number of people coming online to look for work, and geographical boundaries have blurred between those offering services and those needing them.

Gaurav says he has seen an uptick in the number of professionals on Superpro over the last couple of months too – more than 1,000 people are now offering services ranging from music and dance lessons, to live cooking classes, on the platform.

“Where earlier professionals were able to sell their services only in their neighbourhood or their cities or towns, geographical boundaries have now expanded. We had someone recently sell piano lessons to learners in the US, so no longer do people have to stay confined to their geographical location,” he adds.

Users have to spend not more than two minutes to get set up on the platform, which comes pre-loaded with a host of software and applications that enable video calling, payment collection, email automation, etc.

“Professionals can start delivering without any investment – they don’t need to buy subscriptions, websites. Their only investment is their laptop or their mobile phones,” Gaurav quips.

The sign-up and the services are free for Superpro users – the startup only takes a small cut of the money they make, when they start making it.

“We get paid when you, a Superpro user, gets paid,” he says.

The startup, founded in August 2019 by Gaurav and his co-founders Vijay Goel, Vivek Kumar, and Sagar Ramteke, earns over Rs 5 lakh, annually. Superpro.ai, which has been incubated by SOSV is currently looking to raise $500,000 over the next one month.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

Original Source: yourstory.com

In March 2019, facing an estimated 2,600 lawsuits1,2 relating to its role in creating the opioid epidemic, Purdue Pharma — the maker of OxyContin — announced the company was considering filing for bankruptcy protection.

Around that same time, New York expanded its lawsuit against the company to include allegations that company funds had been fraudulently transferred into trusts and offshore accounts owned by members of the Sackler family in an effort to shield assets from litigation.3,4 In all, court documents reveal the Sacklers transferred more than $10 billion of the company’s funds into family trusts.5

How this does not fall under the fraudulent conveyance statutes, which is attempting to avoid a debt by moving assets to another person or legal entity, boggles my mind. It appears the only reason they got away with this is they found the loophole of transferring their assets offshore.

The New York complaint also charged Purdue with secretly setting up a new company, Rhodes Pharma, in 2007 while the company was being investigated by federal prosecutors, as a way to protect the Sacklers from the mounting OxyContin crisis and continue their profit scheme.6 Rhodes Pharma makes generic opioids, allowing the Sacklers to benefit from the opioid epidemic both in terms of brand name sales and generic sales.7

Rhodes Pharma and Richard Sackler also hold the patent to a new, faster-dissolving form of buprenorphine, a mild opioid drug used in the treatment of opioid addiction,8 allowing the Sacklers to further profit from the addiction crisis they helped instigate, the economic burden of which is costing the U.S. an estimated $504 billion a year.9

Indeed, according to a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts,10 Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers sought to increase opioid prescriptions while simultaneously developing overdose treatment to boost its profits.

US Government Enters Opioid Business

Purdue finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019.11 At the end of October 2020, Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges relating to its role in the opioid crisis, including violating a federal anti-kickback law, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.12,13

To settle the charges, Purdue is supposed to pay $8.3 billion in fines, forfeiture of past profits and civil liability payments.14 However, the company doesn’t have enough cash to cover the payments so, instead, Purdue Pharma will be dissolved, and its assets used to erect a “public benefit company,” in other words, a government-owned and controlled drug company.

The estimated financial cost of opioid addiction and death in the U.S. was $504 billion in 2015. In addition to health care costs, criminal justice costs and lost productivity due to addiction or incarceration, this figure also takes into account projected lost earnings and the value of statistical life for people who died prematurely.

This new company will reportedly be controlled by a trust that will “balance the trust’s interests against those of the American public and public health.”15 Future earnings from this public benefit company will be used to pay off the $8.3 billion penalty, which in turn is supposed to be used to combat the opioid crisis.

This is a remarkable development, and one wonders just how functional this setup is going to be. In essence, the government will now be in the business of making and selling opioids, the profits from which will then be used to combat opioid addiction. It seems like a circular and rather illogical setup. According to CNN:16

“Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who announced the settlement, defended the plans for the new company to continue to sell that drug, saying there are legitimate uses for painkillers such as OxyContin.”

Sackler Family Walk Away Scot-Free, Again

The Sackler family, meanwhile, have reached a separate settlement in which they will pay $225 million in civil liability for causing false claims about OxyContin to be made to Medicare and other government health care programs.17

While the agreement does not release the Sacklers from potential criminal liability, it seems the family will walk away scot-free. And, considering they already transferred some $10 billion into their family trusts, the $225 million fine is a very small fraction, so they won’t end up wanting financially either.

Proving they have no remorse, Sackler family members, in a recent statement, shifted blame for the company’s illegal activities on its managers, saying they “relied on management assertions the company acted lawfully.”18 This, even though several Sackler family members sat on the company board and were intimately familiar with the company’s marketing strategy.

It’s unclear whether this DOJ agreement affects or includes the Sacklers’ other opioid company, Rhodes Pharmaceuticals. If not, it falls short in that respect too, since they would then be able to continue their opioid business. Between 2009 and 2016, Rhodes’ market share of opioid sales actually exceeded that of Purdue itself.19

Aside from Purdue and Rhodes, the Sacklers have also profited from Napp Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge-based drug company that manufactures — you guessed it — opioids.20 In 2018, seven family members resigned from their directors’ posts at Napp following a string of bad publicity relating to alleged tax evasion schemes.

Mortimer Sackler, since deceased, was found to have avoided paying income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance taxes in the U.K. by falsely claiming non-domiciled status. The family was also accused of using a Bermuda-based company to avoid paying corporate taxes for Napp Pharmaceuticals.21

Penalties Still Won’t Cover States’ Claims

Even though $8.3 billion is a record-breaking settlement, states have filed claims exceeding $2 trillion in Purdue’s bankruptcy case, and according to a November 2017 report22 by the White House Council on Economic Advisers, the estimated financial cost of opioid addiction and death in the U.S. was $504 billion in 2015.

In addition to health care costs, criminal justice costs and lost productivity due to addiction or incarceration, this figure also takes into account projected lost earnings and the value of statistical life for people who died prematurely.

In response to the Justice Department’s settlement with Purdue Pharma, 25 state attorneys general sent a letter23 to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in which they object to the settlement and argue against the government getting involved in the opioid business. The letter, dated October 14, 2020, reads in part:24

“We write to ask you to revise a proposed DOJ settlement agreement that reportedly would wrongly mandate that Purdue Pharma’s infamous OxyContin business be preserved as a public trust.

A business that killed thousands of Americans should not be associated with government. Instead, the business should be sold to private owners, so the government can enforce the law against it with the same impartiality as for any other company …

The role of government in any OxyContin business should be to enforce the law, just as against any other company. The public deserves assurance that no opioid business is given the special protection of being placed under a public umbrella.

Although it may take time to find a private sector buyer, the public should be confident that public officials are seeking to avoid having special ties to an opioid company, conflicts of interest, or mixed motives in an industry that caused a national crisis.”

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong also told CNN:25

“This settlement provides a mere mirage of justice for the victims of Purdue’s callous misconduct. The federal government had the power here to put the Sacklers in jail, and they didn’t. Instead, they took fines and penalties that Purdue likely will never fully pay.

Every dollar paid here is one dollar less for states like Connecticut trying to maximize money from Purdue and the Sacklers to abate the opioid epidemic. Preserving Purdue’s ability to continue selling opioids as a public benefit corporation is simply unacceptable.”

How Purdue Launched and Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

In previous articles, I’ve discussed the role false advertising played in the creation of the opioid crisis.26 To recap, a single paragraph in a 1980 letter to the editor27,28 (not a study) in The New England Journal of Medicine — which stated that narcotic addiction in patients with no history of addiction was very rare — became the basis of a drug marketing campaign that has since led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people.

Purdue Pharma used this letter to the editor as the basis for its claim that opioid addiction affects less than 1% of patients treated with the drugs. In reality, opioids have a very high rate of addiction and have not been proven effective for long-term use.29

Research30 published in 2018 also shows opioids (including morphine, Vicodin, oxycodone and fentanyl) fail to control moderate to severe pain any better than over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen.

Various court cases have demonstrated how Purdue systematically misled doctors about OxyContin’s addictiveness to drive up sales. The inevitable result of Purdue Pharma’s ruthless and immoral marketing campaign has been skyrocketing opioid addiction, which killed 46,802 Americans in 2018 alone.31

Adding insult to injury, when it became clear that people were dying in droves from opioid overdoses, Purdue launched an extensive damage-control operation that included the suggestion that those dying from opioids were already addicts, and that this wouldn’t happen to patients who were not already addicted to drugs. The company also sought to cash in on the rising addiction trend twice by getting into the business of creating overdose treatments.

Opioid Misuse Paves Way for Heroin Addiction

Perhaps most egregious of all has been the reckless prescribing of opioids to young people. Here, dentists have been a major part of the problem, as opioids are frequently prescribed when extracting wisdom teeth.

Insurance claims data from 2016 and 2017 reveal 60% of children between the ages of 1 and 18 with private insurance filled one or more opioid prescriptions after surgical tonsil removal,32,33 and dentists wrote a staggering 18.1 million prescriptions for opioids in 2017.34

As noted by Ronnie Cohen in a March 2019 article35 in The Washington Post, “until recently, dentists seemed to have had no idea they may have been helping to feed an epidemic that resulted in a record 70,237 U.S. drug overdose deaths in 2017.”36

But contribute they have, and according to data37 from the University of Michigan, 31.8%, or just over 1 in 3 people who misused opioids during their high school years ended up using heroin by age 35. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse also confirms that prescription opioid use is a significant risk factor for subsequent heroin use:38

Incidence of heroin use was 19 times higher among those who had used opioids nonmedically than among those who had not used an opioid
86% of young, urban injection drug users had used opioid pain relievers nonmedically before starting heroin. The three primary sources of opioids were family, friends and personal prescriptions. This is the reverse trend from the 1960, when more than 80% of those who started abusing opioids had started with heroin
Of those who began abusing opioids in the 2000s, 75% reported that their first opioid was a prescription drug
Nearly 80% of heroin users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin

Struggling With Opioid Addiction? Please Seek Help

Regardless of the brand of opioid, it’s important to realize they are extremely addictive drugs and not meant for long-term use for nonfatal conditions. Chemically, opioids are similar to heroin, so if you wouldn’t consider shooting up heroin for a toothache or backache, seriously reconsider taking an opioid to relieve this type of pain.

The misconception that opioids are harmless pain relievers has killed hundreds of thousands, and destroyed the lives of countless more. In many cases, you’ll be able to control pain without using medications.

In my previous article, “Billionaire Opioid Executive Stands to Make Millions More on Patent for Addiction Treatment,” I discuss several approaches — including nondrug remedies, dietary changes and bodywork interventions — that can be used separately or in combination to control pain, both acute and chronic.

If you’ve been on an opioid for more than two months, or if you find yourself taking a higher dosage or taking the drug more often than you initially did, you may already be addicted. Resources where you can find help include the following.

Your workplace Employee Assistance Program
The Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration39 can be contacted 24 hours a day at 1-800-622-HELP

You can also learn more in “How to Wean Off Opioids.” I also recommend keeping an eye out for my upcoming article about how low dose naltrexone (LDN), an opioid antagonist, is being used at ultra-low micro doses of 1 microgram to successfully treat opioid addiction.

Original Source: articles.mercola.com

Language
English

Many of the workers on the front lines of the pandemic lack insurance and basic social protections. Photo: Olha Zaika

The “informal economy” is often seen as primarily daily-wage laborers, such as in the construction sector or housekeepers, but it also encompasses vast numbers of workers in short- term, usually contract jobs in the formal service sector such as hospitality, retail, and transport. It also includes those working in the new gig economy.

Their work is often characterized by uncertainty, instability and insecurity. As opposed to those in business or government employment, they bear the risks of their work and receive limited social benefits and entitlements.

The Asia-Pacific region accounts for around 60% of the non-farm global workforce, higher than in Latin America and Eastern Europe, ranging from about 20% in Japan to over 80% in Myanmar and Cambodia. They are twice as likely as formal workers to belong to low-income households and often live hand-to-mouth. If they cannot work for extended periods, their family’s income is at risk.

The informal economy is not a relic of the past or a sign of backwardness. It is also not a consequence of the failure of modernization strategies. Today’s informal economy is an essential feature of global production networks. It operates in an environment marked by complex formal and informal economic links, global economic cycles, and domestic economic concerns.

For many in the informal economy, savings are either nonexistent or extremely limited. Typically, they lack employment security, healthcare benefits, sick leave, pensions, and severance packages. Only some of these low-income households are beneficiaries of social transfer programs or other formal insurance arrangements. And here also coverage and adequacy of benefits remain an issue. In short, informal workers earn their living without a safety net.

Without these protections, informal economy workers, especially the poor, face a wide range of occupational, safety, and health risks. They are disproportionally affected by natural hazards and human-made disasters. When affected, the poor tend to lose a larger fraction of their wealth, given their lower ability to cope and recover from disaster impacts. 

Even those whose employment is technically on the books, such as Uber drivers, face a raft of disadvantages. Being classified as independent contractors, many struggle to win unemployment benefits because their employers fail to pay insurance premiums or report wage data to state agencies.

Today, many at-risk informal workers are classified as “essential” to keep the economy going during the pandemic even though they lack basic labor protections.

The private insurance sector should see this as an opportunity to contribute to societal development by designing and offering fit-for-purpose healthcare provision, pensions, and insurance solutions for the missing middle. 

The extension of social protection or insurance to workers in the informal economy often concerns households already relying on informal support and risk-sharing. Insurers should gain insights from the interactions between pre-existing informal risk-sharing networks, social protection schemes, and formal insurance markets while designing new solutions. The design elements must reinforce rather than undermine the positive aspects of informal support mechanisms in risk management. 

Often the potential to build on community-based insurance like cooperatives and mutuals is overlooked. A thorough understanding of these mechanisms can help create positive synergies to manage the idiosyncratic risks. For covariate risks, financing the extension of risk protection needs to be done via risk transfer. 

Microinsurance provides a credible option to balance equity and sustainability. Post-disaster, microinsurance products can cover the cost of health care, deaths, and burials, loss of livestock or crops, or business assets. They can also support the business or income-generating enterprises while the overall system recovers. 

However, limited access to a range of risk management mechanisms and data prevents insurers from offering access to affordable insurance. A case in point is the challenge of developing business interruption products post-pandemic due to a lack of legal documents, proof of inventory and income, and insurance providers’ misperceptions about the client group. 

Today, many at-risk informal workers are classified as “essential” to keep the economy going during the pandemic even though they lack basic labor protections.

The COVID-19 outbreak and accompanying disasters due to natural hazards have exposed the challenges in protecting informal workers and vulnerable households in Asia.

In the new normal:

Mutuals and community-based insurance need strengthening through regulatory and supervisory oversight as they play a critical role in insuring the missing middle. In doing so, the women’s position as the households’ risk manager can be reinforced further and recognized at the community level. 
Governments should consider linking social protection programs with insurance to provide a safety net response. The use of digital technologies to target social protection programs towards households most at risk and targeting the female heads of families would be necessary. 
Subsidies do not automatically lead to high take-up, although evidence suggests that they expand coverage in different contexts. The role of smart subsidies needs to be further explored. And the same goes for smart technology.
The viability of insurance is a direct function of an insurer’s solvency of following a large-scale catastrophe or sequential disaster events. Well capitalized and regulated insurers can diversify their portfolios via reinsurance and help in growing this nascent market.
The design elements of new insurance products need to address the informal sector’s risks and the gig economy workers. They must also consider access to existing risk-pooling arrangements to offer optimal protection.
There is little awareness or understanding of the merits of insurance for managing large-scale disasters. More awareness-building is needed to instill trust and to involve women as change agents. Home is the best school, and the mother is the best teacher. In this manner, one can instill the value of insurance in an entire generation. At the same time, stringent action should be taken against those who are mis selling. 

To address the future of work, a shift in thinking is needed about private partnerships and putting the elderly, women, and youth at the center of loss prevention and building resilience for the households. This will be the most effective way forward for developing future protection solutions.

covid, covid-19, coronavirus, novel coronavirus, corona virus, covid-19 response, communicable diseases, infectious diseases, emergency response, health response, outbreak, pandemic, covid-19 prevention, insurance, informal workers, informal labor, social protections, health insurance, vendors, day laborers, contract workersArup Kumar ChatterjeeArticle

Original Source: blogs.adb.org

Rashmi Verma, Executive Director and Co-founder of MapmyIndia, had one thing in mind when she returned to India from the US in 1990 – build something lasting and powerful. 

A graduate in Chemical Engineering from IIT Roorkee with a master’s in Operational Research and Computer Science from Eastern Washington University, Rashmi worked for the likes of Citi Corp before joining IBM in the US. She then returned to India with her husband and realised India did not have a map reading culture like the US. 

With the firm belief that India has a huge market for digital maps, Rashmi co-founded MapmyIndia in 1995 along with her husband, Rakesh Verma. The Delhi-based company offers digital map data, telematics, and location-based SaaS and GIS services, and is now making waves with its app, Move. 

From building GIS mapping tech for Coca Cola to offering solutions to customers in industries such as automobile, ecommerce, banking and insurance, spacetech, and more, today MapmyIndia’s in-built digital map solutions are used by auto companies like Tata Motors, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, TVS Motors, and others. The maps also power Flipkart, Amazon, and Ola Cabs.

With over three decades of experience in technology, Rashmi, who always believed technology has the power to bring quick and fast solutions, is now focusing on the broader strategic tech roadmaps and plans for MapmyIndia. 

The MapmyIndia Move app was also awarded the Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge for its unique indigenous solution for ensuring hyperlocal discovery.

Techie Tuesday- Rashmi Verma

Rashmi Verma at an event in 2017

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Engineering and coding 

Rashmi’s father was a doctor, who worked for the Northeastern railways, and her mother was a homemaker. She spent most of her childhood in different parts of North India like Gorakhpur, Bareilly, and Banaras (Varanasi). 

Rashmi describes herself as an academically inclined child and wanted to do medicine like her father. As it meant a lot of studying, she chose to do engineering from the University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee). 

“I didn’t appear for many entrance exams and directly joined University of Roorkee. I was one of the nine girls who took up the Chemical Engineering course in 1973,” says Rashmi. 

She says in those days there wasn’t much information of what electives to take, but in retrospect she feels she chose the best one. “It gave me a strong base on the fundamentals of engineering and also helped me in the future, and it made it easier for me to understand and learn different things and new concepts,” says Rashmi. 

Rashmi got married during her third year of engineering, in 1976, and a year after her graduation she went to the US with her husband and pursued her master’s in Operational Research and Computer Science from Eastern Washington University. 

She defines the course as the precursor to big data and data science. It was here that she learnt all about analytics, coding, and programming. After completing her master’s in 1979, Rashmi joined Citi Corp where she worked on building and handling the information technology for banks. 

“I learnt all about banking technologies, and it was my first foray into building banking solutions, working on programming and coding,” adds Rashmi. Techie Tuesday - Rashmi Verma

Rashmi at Eastern University Washington in 1979

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A mix of hardware and software 

After her stint at the Citi Corp in the early 80s, Rashmi joined Scowell systems that worked on technology for home appliances. She explains that working at these firms gave her a detailed understanding of both the software and the manufacturing aspects of technology.

“It gave me an understanding of coding and programming across different sectors, and the impact and power of technology in each of the spaces,” explains Rashmi. 

But according to her, it was only after joining IBM in 1984 that her horizons expanded. At that point in time, IBM had 600 people, and it was the beginning of an era where computer science professionals were hired as project consultants.

She says, “Not only was I travelling around the country training different software professionals, I was also working on billable projects going to different customers, building the core technology for different parts of the business with IBM Mainframe. I realised that I am a detail oriented person, and programming and building different mainframe products and projects gave me the much needed push.” 

“One thing about technology is that you have the ability to find solutions for different kinds of problems. It is always zero to one,” she adds. Techie Tuesday - Rashmi Verma

Rashmi Verma with the IBM team in 1984

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India calling 

After working at IBM in the US for six years, Rashmi realised she wanted to come back home and use technology to solve real problems. She returned to India along with her family in 1990 and continued to work in IBM Mainframe technologies. 

Rashmi explains, “We had our family here, and while that was one strong driving force, another strong force was the work we could do. We knew that technology had the power to transform lives, and we wanted to make that difference to the everyday lives of people in India.” 

“We started doing projects for Tata Steel and we had also built a pool of people who could work on these projects. I continued to shuttle between India and the US, but then realised I didn’t want to lead that kind of life. What was the point of coming back to India if I was working on projects in the US, and my two children were here and I wanted to spend time with them,” says Rashmi. 

Until then India did not have digital maps used by the general population. Most of the maps used satellite images and were built for government or military purposes. The maps, as we see it today, were built later manually by gathering data and information. 

When the husband-wife duo decided to focus on India specific problems, they knew mapping was one area that will help solve several logistics challenges. But purely working on IBM mainframe systems didn’t help. It was then they realised they needed to work on smaller DC systems, and one core problem that stood out was the lack of any digital maps. People just weren’t using any map-based technologies in India. 

“That was the beginning because without the map we can’t solve any problem even if we have all the technologies like GIS software,” explains Rashmi.

Techie Tuesday-  Rashmi Verma

Rashmi during her IIT Roorkee days

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Mapping India 

The Indian economy was opening up in the 90s, and companies like Coca Cola were looking closely at the Indian market. 

“They needed maps, and we scrambled to build something to give them an early solution,” says Rashmi. She says they built a high-level map with the district boundaries to help with the distribution network. 

However, the company needed a solution for cities where the trucks would ply and sell Coca Cola bottles to every outlet. This meant building streetwise maps with the outlets. 

“This wasn’t just a digital map. We built a solution using GIS mapping technology. We worked for the likes Motorola, Modi Xerox, and a few others,” adds Rashmi. 

While there was no GPS, Rashmi says she leveraged the telecom revolution to help build solution for telecom companies. This was for their towers, where they wanted to know the maximum amount of technology they needed to deploy. 

“We built the triangulation services on our maps to help them with the best areas and what technology they could deploy, which also helped us scale our maps,” says Rashmi. It also gave them an idea of demography and signal strengths in each areas. 

Techie Tuesday- Rashmi Verma

Rashmi being felicitated at an event in 2018

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A deeper understanding 

Rashmi says the pace of technology is faster now. Earlier, they had to painstakingly collect data manually. “Now we have real-time data gathering, map building, and machine learning that makes it easier to understand the changes,” she explains.

Today, MapmyIndia’s product – Move – offers a detailed house number-level map search, compatibility with India’s own satellite imagery service from ISRO’s Bhuvan, real-time traffic and safety-based navigation, and more.

The company has grown with location technology, specifically in the areas of navigation, tracking, IoT, and analytics to provide products, services, and solutions to over 10 million end users – consumers, enterprises, and governments.

Advising techies Rashmi says, “My advice to techies is that whatever area you pick, ensure that you deep dive into it. I believe there are now two kinds of techies – one is the techie who goes into the bits and bytes and rebuilds deep tech. Another type of techie is one who goes to the business side of things and understand the plethora of things that helps give them a broader overview of what solution can be built. If you happen to be the first kind, I would advise you to dive extremely deep.” 

Edited by Megha Reddy

Original Source: yourstory.com

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